To: Tom Andel, chief editor:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
I found the When Is a Conveyor an Elevator? Never article interesting, but I think a major point is being overlooked; that is:
An elevator authority, be it city or state entity, has no legal standing to regulate VRCs!
There is no question about the following:
1. VRCs, elevators, dumbwaiters and material lifts are very different and distinct pieces of equipment, which any knowledgeable person can identify.
2. VRCs are conveyors and are regulated/inspected by OSHA. Dumbwaiters and material lifts are special types of elevators and are regulated/inspected by state/city elevator authorities;
3. The Supreme Court has ruled that federal OSHA “pre-empts any state law or regulation that establishes a … safety standard on an issue for which OSHA has already promulgated a standard,” “Congress intended to subject employers and employees to only one set of regulations.” In short, as long as OSHA regulates conveyors (which they do) no elevator authority can legally make and/or enforce rules covering VRCs.
4. In a similar case, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the state was pre-empted by the federal OSH Act from prosecuting an employer for failure to comply with state regulations addressing the licensing of workmen. In short, as long as OSHA regulates conveyors (which they do) no elevator authority can make and/or enforce rules dictating who will install/maintain VRCs.
Some “good men” just need to say, “No!” or “No More!”
Richard Parry is chairman of the ASME B20 Conveyor Safety Committee and has been an engineering consultant in machinery safety matters for more than 30 years. The thoughts expressed above are his personal opinions.